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Bofinger Chair

Bofinger Chair

Bofinger Chair

The Bofinger Stacking Chair was designed by architect and designer Helmut Bätzner in 1964. The chair was developed in close co-operation with the Bofinger company, located in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, under the owner Rudolf Baresel-Bofinger.

Helmut Bätzner’s architectural office, in conjunction with the building project for the State Theatre in Karlsruhe, developed the concept. It was intended to provide additional seating indoors and outdoor use and had to be light, stackable, compact, and weatherproof. 

Plastic furniture was still a new venture, and Bätzner sought advice and presented his idea to furniture manufacturer Bofinger. Bofinger became an essential supporter of the project and eventually lent his name to the chair.

The Bofinger stacking chair was developed as the first one-piece plastic chair in fiberglass- reinforced polyester to be mass-produced in one pressing process over a steel mold.

The material was dyed and available in a range of colors, including white, yellow, black, red, blue, green, brown, and orange.

In a lengthy trial process, the chair’s characteristic shape was designed to maximize the seating shape, stability, stacking capability, and industrial mass-production.

The heated steel mold’s pressing process lasted less than five minutes, and the finishing treatment was a simple scraping around the edges to remove excess polyester.

In 1966 the Bofinger Chair made its debut at the furniture fair in Cologne. It received awards and became a design icon of its time. Its mass production confirmed the chair’s popularity.

The chair became the first one-piece mass-produced plastic chair and was transformed into an art object.

Museums, such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, included the Bofinger Chair in their collections.

The Bofinger Chair is considered one of the most important classics of modern furniture design history.

Furniture at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London is the world’s largest museum of applied and decorative arts and design, and sculpture. The Museum houses a collection of over 2 million objects. 

In 2012, the Museum opened its first gallery to be exclusively dedicated to Furniture. Previously, furniture had been exhibited separately as part of the historical period exhibits.

The furniture collection covers Europe and America from the Middle Ages to the present, plus a sizeable British collection.

One of the oldest items is a chair leg from Egypt dated to 200 AD.  One of the oldest clocks in the collection is an astronomical clock from 1588.

The Furniture and Woodwork collection also includes complete rooms, musical instruments, and clocks. The Museum also hosts the national collection of wallpaper. 

The famous collections range from Italian and French Renaissance objects to Art Nouveau and innovative modern furniture.

Bofinger Chair

  • Title:                 Bofinger Chair
  • Artist:               Baresel-Bofinger, Rudolf (consultants)
  • Date:                1966
  • Origin:              Karlsruhe
  • Materials:         Polyester resin, molded
  • Dimensions:     Height: 74.5 cm, Width: 53 cm, Depth: 53 cm
  • Category:         Furniture 
  • Museum:         Victoria and Albert Museum

How This Chair Conquered the World

A Virtual Tour of the Victoria and Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum Furniture Collection

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Plastics Chairs

Plastic molding machine making chair

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“I give unto my wife my second best bed with the furniture.”
– William Shakespeare

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Photo Credit: Gryffindor / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0); The original uploader was VAwebteam at English Wikipedia. / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/); Gryffindor / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0); Sandstein / CC BY-SA (creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

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